Part of the spiritual journey is the invitation to explore, discover and cultivate our own unique magnificence. How does exploration of and discovery of our charisms/spiritual gifts play a role in accomplishing this task?
Each of us are uniquely gifted to reveal the Presence and Action of the Divine in the world. There are two primary ways through which this Divine revelation is accomplished. The first is through our talents and abilities. These are the talents and abilities that are naturally born within us and that we have the good fortune of being able to cultivate and develop – painting, drawing, playing music, singing, cooking, knitting, etc.
The second vehicle through which the Divine is revealed in and through us is through our charisms. Charism is a word specific to the Christian tradition, but not limited to those with a Christian orientation. A charism, as defined by St. Paul is a gift of the Holy Spirit. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are specifically given for the purpose of “building the kingdom of God” – in other words, revealing Divine love, peace, compassion, mercy and joy more fully in our human world. The gifts of the Holy Spirit or charisms that have been named by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12) are as follows:
- discernment of spirits;
- interpretation of tongues.
- service (as a ministry),
The way that we can distinguish a charism from a simple talent or gift is by observing the result of the use of that charism. A gift or talent is used through our own actions. A charism is God working through us. A result of using a talent or a gift is only as good as we are and limited to our human skill and the practice we have put into these talents. The use of a charism produces results far beyond what we know our selves to be humanly capable of. Let me give you an example:
In my own journey of spiritual growth and self-discovery, I have learned that healing and teaching are among the charisms I have been given by God. I have learned these to be charisms as I have witnessed the way in which these gifts have been revealed through me, but more importantly, the impact these gifts have had on the men and women with whom I have shared these gifts. I know that I am not humanly capable of initiating physical, emotional, mental or spiritual healing in another. I am not a trained medical practitioner, neither am I a trained psychologist or psychiatrist. And yet, I have seen over and over again, moments of profound realization in my clients that leads to release of deep seated fears, false perceptions, prejudices, attachments, etc. I know that it is not me facilitating the healing or release, but the Holy Spirit. I know this because of the profound humility, wonder and awe that I feel within myself as I witness healing in my clients. I have also seen this – far beyond my human capabilities – healing when sharing Reiki or facilitating classes and retreats. I know when the limitations of my human self have departed and the Holy Spirit has taken over. I hear words come out of my mouth that did not come from my own head and see images of fear and pain in clients that I know I am not in an of myself humanly capable of seeing. It is through these experiences that I have come to understand that healing and teaching are two of the charisms given to me by the Divine.
Beyond healing and teaching, I have also come to understand that Discernment of Spirits is one of my charisms – in fact this may be the most profound gift that I have received from God. I can best describe this gift as having the ability to “hear the truth beyond the words” ( I think I have to give credit to my friend, Karen Schmidt, for this definition.) And…you will just have to wait until tomorrow to hear more about this gift! 🙂
Have you taken the time to explore your own charisms and how the Holy Spirit wishes to reveal love, compassion, peace and joy through you?
What might be some of your own charisms?
How can you begin to explore this topic more fully for yourself?
Authentic Freedom Ministries/yourspiritualtruth